History in Motion

Ring That Bell

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Thursday, July 9, 2015


At high noon today in Union Square, Muni cable car grips and conductors will have a showdown at the 52nd Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest, duking it out to see who will be the next world champ. A classic San Francisco event and one of our longest-running and most popular, the Bell Ringing Contest is definitely a special treat for visitors and locals alike.

Crowd of People at Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest at Union Square | June 8, 1972 | M1322_3
Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest at Union Square | June 8, 1972 | M1322_3


As is demonstrated in this photo from 1972, the contest has always drawn a crowd. Between the pro and celebrity contestants, and the live music, it's always a good show. Throughout the years, the bands have changed, the celebrities have come and gone but the simple rules have pretty much stayed the same: ring the bell with as much rhythm, style, and originality as you can muster.


If you're looking for more information on past events, be sure to check out Joe Thompson's great cable car site full of cable car information and an extensive list of past events, which includes winners and more photos.


Whether you've been to the contest in the past or have never even heard of it, be sure to join us in the square for a little mid-day sunshine and a lot of excellent bell-ringing mastery!


Check out more historic photos on the SFMTA Photo Archive website and follow us on Flickr, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram for more announcements.